A Great Way to Kick Off the Great Lakes Building Season


The Great Lakes Design & Construction Expo - The Midwest's largest residential & commercial building industry event - is coming to Novi, MI on February 12 & 13. We'll be there, along with dozens of manufacturers and service providers in the construction industry. I sat down with Mike Stoskopf, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan, to discuss the event and highlight the value this event brings to contractors involved in residential and commercial construction.

Dave: For 2020, the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan (HBA) and the Construction Association of Michigan (CAM) have combined their annual trade shows into The Great Lakes Design & Construction Expo.  What brought about this change, and what value does it bring to the construction industry?

Mike: Ever since the HBA of Southeastern Michigan took over production of the Great Lakes Builders Show (GLBS) for the HBA of Michigan in 2016, our GLBS event always fell within a week of the CAM Construction & Design Expo, typically in early-February. As you might expect, GLBS was focused on the residential construction industry and CAM’s event was focused on the commercial construction industry. It seemed to me that it might make sense to combine the two shows and I approached CAM a couple years ago to have them consider the idea. The agreement to jointly produce what is now the Great Lakes Design & Construction (GLDC) Expo 2020 was made in early 2019. Ever since, it has been a productive partnership, bringing the best parts of both events together in a bigger venue at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, resulting in the Midwest’s largest residential and commercial construction industry trade show.

HBA-logo CAM-logo-w-text-CMYK-1600x427

Dave: Is the Great Lakes Design & Construction Expo for members of the HBA and CAM only?  Who can/should attend?

Mike: While there are aspects of GLDC 2020 that are intended for “members-only” (i.e., CAM Annual Awards Luncheon, HBA of Michigan Executive Committee and HBA of Michigan Board of Directors), the majority of GLDC Expo 2020 is geared towards ANYBODY involved in either the residential and/or commercial construction industry. From the 80,000 sqft exhibit hall with over 300 exhibitors, to the wide array of professional education opportunities, to the Economic Forecast breakfast featuring Mr. Rob Dietz, Ph.D., Chief Economist for the National Association of Home Builders, GLDC Expo 2020 has something for everyone involved in the construction industry.

Dave: There’s quite a few educational sessions offered throughout the expo.  Tell me about the range of classes offered as part of the expo and who they appeal to.

Students with a teacher at the college lecture hall

Mike: Our goal at the outset was to create a set of professional educational opportunities that would be applicable across both residential and commercial aspects of construction. Beyond that, we also hoped to provide courses that could apply to small businesses and larger companies alike. Finally, with 2020 being a renewal year for many people who hold residential builder licenses, we scheduled courses that meet the 1-hour requirement for continuing education in the areas of legal, codes and safety. For those with builders licenses – and having held that license for more than 6 years – the online renewal process will require that the builder complete a total of 3 hours of continuing education, one each in legal, codes and safety.

Dave: While registration for the expo and the educational workshops is free, the Economic Forecast breakfast is a paid event ($40 per person).  Let’s say you’re chatting with a construction professional that has never attended an economic forecast… how would you communicate its value to this individual for the upcoming season?

Data analysis chart and graphs

Mike: The US is currently in its longest-ever economic expansion. Here in Michigan, 2019 was an up and down year, especially with respect to residential construction, UAW strikes, etc. What will the national, regional, state and local economy be like in 2020? Not to mention interest rates, inflation, US trade policy, North American vehicle production, the price of oil and any of the other myriad of economic factors that can positively or adversely affect the residential construction industry. The 2020 Annual Economic Forecast Breakfast provides an in-depth outlook on national, state and regional economic factors that we hope will make 2020 a great year for you and your business.

Dave: Now it’s plug time: consider a brand-new builder or remodeler, someone who may have worked for other contractors in the past but is now striking out on their own to build a construction business.  What value does HBA membership bring – why should they consider joining their local Home Builders Association?

Mike: The Top 4 reasons residential construction industry professionals join the HBA are:

  1. Peer-to-peer dialogue and information sharing;
  2. Updates on industry-related information;
  3. Sales and marketing opportunities (B2B or B2C); and
  4. Professional education.

Our HBA members include: new home builders, remodelers, subcontractors, vendors, suppliers, and a wide-array of “service” companies such as banks, credit unions, insurance, lawyers and more who want to work with builders and remodelers. From our weekly emails to our monthly events to our consumer-focused home shows to our annual Parade of Homes to the myriad of cost-saving programs to our charitable endeavors, there is so much that an HBA member can take advantage of to grow their business, their professionalism while giving back to the industry within which they make their living. With our 3-tiered membership structure, anyone can join at one of three (3) levels: Basic ($299 per year), Pro ($449) or Premium ($699), each level offering a broader array of benefits.

Dave: Finally, to add some personal flavor:  How long have you been the CEO of the HBA of Southeastern Michigan, and what do you like most about your role?  What do you think we as an industry have to look forward to in 2020?

Michael C Stoskopf CEO of HBA

Mike: I have been privileged to serve as HBA’s CEO since April 2008, so nearly 12 years now. From a people perspective, the best part of my job is the terrific people I get to meet from across our membership. People who are committed to the residential construction industry and our mutual success. From a professional perspective, it’s the ever-changing nature of the job whereby I get to draw upon my strengths to help HBA succeed.

As far as 2020, it appears to me that recession fears have subsided as a Phase 1 trade deal with China and ratification of USMCA to replace NAFTA has now occurred. Those two things, along with the UAW negotiations and GM strike in the rear-view mirror, I think 2020 could see a significant rebound in both new home sales and construction, as well as increased existing home sales which directly impacts remodeling activity in a positive way. I believe at least the first half of 2020 should see a decent “pace-of-play” with respect to construction activity. I’m curious to see in this election year if a slowdown in activity will occur leading up to the November elections. While it doesn’t happen every election cycle, it was a prominent aspect during the 2016 Presidential campaign.

Thanks Mike for taking the time with me to discuss the opportunities that abound for residential & commercial contractors at the Great Lakes Design & Construction Expo!

Come visit the Wimsatt booth at GLDCE - just look for our truck! We'll have representatives from several of the top exterior building materials manufacturers, including Atlas, CertainTeed, GAF, IKO, Owens Corning, Mastic Home Exteriors, Royal Building Products, James Hardie, Versico Roofing Systems, VELUX Skylights, and Trex. Stop by our booth and you can register to win one of over a dozen model home credits valued at $500, and also enter our grand prize drawing for an LG 65" UHD 4K TV! Hope to see you there!

The Great Lakes Design & Construction Expo is FREE for Contractors -->

Register ASAP!


Tags Certainteed GAF great lakes builders show Trex James Hardie Education Construction Association of Michigan HBA of Southeastern Michigan Great Lakes Design & Construction Expo Owens Corning Atlas IKO VELUX Builders License Versico Roofing Systems

About Wimsatt Building Materials

Wimsatt Building Materials

Wimsatt Building Materials is a distributor of quality steep slope & low slope roofing, exterior cladding, windows & doors, and specialty building materials. We serve builders and contractors with our gold standard in service from eight locations across Michigan and Northern Ohio.

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